Automatic Design /Copyright Rights for UK Manufacturers : Nature Babies
Did you know that there is a little known fact in UK Design Law which states that any item designed by a British Manufactuer and manufactured in this country has automatic design rights for 15 years! This means... fellow British Manufacturers.... that if some one likes your idea they cannot actually ship if off to Turkey, Hong Kong, China, Brazil or anywhere to copy it and get it made and ship it back into the UK cheaper to steal all your customers!
Over the years we have had many of our important designs simply copied and manufactured overseas..
Its so good to know that as we are now the first people to manufacture a wrap with adjustable fleece gussetts on the legs only (and not also on the waitstband) and that this design will not be able to be copied and manufactured elsewhere. And just to be on the safeside, we have also applied for a patent to protect this important design manufacturing process...i.e. binding down the side and across the waist, yet fleece cuffs ! :)
See the techi bit below I have copied and pasted :)
UK intellectual property law states that design right ensures automatic protection for any designs you create for 10 years from the moment it was first sold or 15 years after its creation – whichever is earliest.
It’s an unregistered form of intellectual property protection that stops anyone else from copying your design for the aforementioned time period.
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) states that unregistered design right applies only to the shape and configuration of objects i.e. how the different parts of your design(s) are combined together.
How do I qualify for UK design right?
For your design to qualify for automatic UK design right it has to be:
Original – a design that’s all your own work
Uncommon – a design that’s not broadly recognised within a group of similar products
Design right will not apply to designs that are influenced by the fact they need to be:
Fitted onto another item
Matching with the rest of another product
The IPO also states that two-dimensional designs such as graphics, textiles and wallpaper do not quality for automatic UK design right. In order to protect this type of design you’ll need to register your design.
How do I prove I created the design?
If you want to claim design right to a specific design, you will need to have evidence that you designed it in the first place.
The IPO suggests two ways of proving your design right:
Leave copies of your design drawings with your bank or solicitor; or mail them to yourself by registered, dated post and left unopened.
Leave photo copies of your design with your brank or solicitor; or mail them to yourself by registered, dated post and left unopened.
By taking these measures you are demonstrating clear-cut, indefinite proof of your creation of the design in question. It’s also useful evidence to have close to hand in the event of any future design right disputes.
Design right exceptions
Generally speaking, unregistered design right belongs to the individual that created the design. But there are a couple of scenarios where this is not the case:
If a design was created by an employee during working hours, as stated in their employment contract, the right will belong to the employer
If the design was commissioned from a designer, the individual commissioning the work will own the design right (unless otherwise agreed)
Licence of right explained
As an owner of design right the IPO states you can allow someone else to use your design by giving them ‘licence of right’.
As stated in Rule 14 of The Design Right (Proceedings before Comptroller) Rules 1989, design right owners can vary the terms of licence to third parties, allowing you to gain royalties from the licensor.
Note: In the final five years of your unregistered design right the IPO states that you must give a licence of right to anybody wishing to make, sell or import your design in the UK.
Automatic design rights elsewhere in the EU
According to the IPO, your designs – including patterns – may be automatically protected across the European Union (EU) under the heading of ‘unregistered community designs’.
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) states that any unregistered community design has three years’ protection from copying from the date on which the design was first made available to the public within the EU.
Note: It’s possible to protect your design in the EU with the EUIPO before it’s commercialised by obtaining a registered community design.
A registered community design differs greatly from unregistered community design in terms of protection and duration. Registered community designs are valid for five years from the date of filing and can be renewed in blocks of five years up to a maximum of 25 years.
Is my design unique?
If you do eventually decide to try and register your design, it’s possible to search the following design registers online to check if your design is unique:
The Intellectual Property Office
Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market
World Intellectual Property Organisation
In addition, Designview can be used to search for designs that are registered by the Community Designs Office or the World Intellectual Property Organisation and effective in the UK.